Local fuel prices continue to increase, which adds to consumer woes just as the country’s economy is poised to recover.
The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has one suggestion to ease the burden of the consumers of these skyrocketing prices of petroleum products—revive the barter trade.
Before the colonizers set in, barter trade was very much alive between the island provinces of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi and those of Malaysia, Indonesia, and other countries near the Philippine Islands.
The Minister of the Interior and Local Government of the BARMM, Lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, said that the restoration of barter trading in the region with countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will help stabilize the prices of petroleum products.
Currently, the prices of both diesel and gasoline in the region remain in the PHP 60 to PHP 65 per liter range, as opposed to PHP 85 or more in mainland Mindanao and other parts of the country.
With the current situation, Sinarimbo believes that it is now the time to relive and revive the famous traditional barter trading via maritime Southeast Asia.
He also pointed out that if the region could exchange the goods that are available, it could bring down the cost of other commodities that are generally essential.
In 2018, Duterte has been pushing for the revival of barter trading, especially in the Zamboanga-Sulu-Basilan areas, as the activity was halted about five years ago after the Malaysian government restricted the movement of goods within its borders.
The plan to revive barter trading in Mindanao was expected to help spur developments in the island, particularly in Western Mindanao, as the industry was among the economic pillars in the region.